A long run from the Mississippi mouth isn’t necesssary to find action like this. (Doug Olander/)
Some anglers who travel to the Venice area of Louisiana are only interested in fishing the marsh. Others want to head offshore, with tuna and wahoo in mind. Those who want something entirely different — to fish the nearshore waters in roughly 15 to 80 feet — are in a distinct minority. Most boats run by shallower rigs and old, wrecked structure, fishing them rarely and then usually just a quick look to see if there’s the odd cobia hanging about. However, during an August trip to Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras , I joined some of the Z-Man boys to spend a day or two fishing that nearshore structure to determine if it offers a fishery worth targeting, particularly for fishing soft plastics and leadheads on light tackle. Short report: very worthwhile. Especially around rigs a few miles out, in 40 to 65 feet, it seemed as if at times at least one of us was always hooked up. We lost some monsters that we simply couldn’t stop, but caught plenty. Consensus: What fishing should be — a blast.
Read Next: Secrets of Fishing Soft Plastics
Capt. Cory Obiol heads out from a launch spot near Buras with Joey Prochazka (standing) and Jonathan Zucker, both with Z-Man. (Doug Olander/)Zucker, Z-Man’s president, strikes first blood, casting a Diezel Minnow toward rig structure in about 50 feet. The fish took him around the boat and then managed to cut him off before Zucker could gain any line. (Doug Olander/)A welcome consolation, Zucker soon brought up a great light-tackle red snapper on the same sort of rig. As expected, anglers can find plenty of red snapper to tussle with ‘em even in these shallower depths. One of the benefits of fishing this zone is that these snapper can usually be released without barotrauma preventing them from easily heading right down when released. (Doug Olander/)Our captain helps the cause, showing that redfish can abound at these nearshore rigs, also. (Doug Olander/)A half-ounce HeadlockZ leadhead with a 5-inch StreakZ jerk bait in the new atomic sunrise color — both with and without the new SpinZ-Tail spinner inserted into the bait — proved to be a winning combo for me throughout the day. (Z-Man/)Case in point: A portly 12- to 14-pound tripletail pounced on that rig as it started sinking near a rig leg. (Joey Prochazka/)In the boat and soon to be on ice for dinner! Baitcasters, like this Shimano Curado, can be a real plus around rigs when often a goal is to cast just to the edge of structure and begin a retrieve. (Doug Olander/)Industrial-size jack crevalle like to hang out around any bit of structure and seemed particularly eager to go after soft plastics. Then it was a long, tough battle. (Doug Olander/)Multiple hookups aren’t unlikely when a marauding jack pack comes by the boat. (Doug Olander/)Seatrout also hang out around nearshore rigs, particularly those closer in. (Doug Olander/)After suffering some aggravating cut-offs, Prochazka — Z-Man’s national sales manager — managed to hook a good bluefish in the jaw and land the fish. It went for one of Prochazka’s faves, a 5-inch DieZel MinnowZ in a sexy penny color. (Doug Olander/)I just had to try a cast with a micro-jig, and the result was this blacktip that made a couple spectacular jumps and, on 12-pound braid, was a kick in the ass. Obiol is holding the fish. (Doug Olander/)The next day, we continued to whack the red snapper, which definitely took a shine to these lures. (Doug Olander/)Time to move on. These waterspouts developed quickly. This one has already touched down; look closely at the horizon beneath the elbow of Brian Evans with Seaguar, and you can see the vortex whipping the water. As the black curtain descended, we hightailed it to the coast. (Doug Olander/)A few miles away, we had a bit of time left in fair skies before the rain caught up to us, so we make a few casts at the outer jetty, where Obiol quickly showed us how to hook a black drum on a Z-man bait. (Doug Olander/)A quick pre-release shot before Obiol puts the drum back into the mouth of the Mississippi. (Doug Olander/)Back to the very welcome ice-cold air of the Cajun Fishing Adventures lodge, where showers and hors d’oeuvres sounded about right. (Doug Olander/)